Writers' Guide

Writers Guidelines

FOREIGN POLICY readers are well-informed, intelligent individuals with a wide range of interests. But they are not necessarily specialists in international affairsin fact, as many businesspeople read FP as academics and practitioners combined. Our readers want to be provoked, surprised, and presented with memorable information and rigorous analysis. They dont want long-winded arguments, insider jargon, narrow topics, or excessively technical writing.

The ideal FP article strikes a balance: It is a reference for debate among specialists, but it also engages and informs a general-interest reader. Sharp analytical thinking should complement reporting. Opinion pieces or essays should use original data, anecdotes, and wit to draw in readers.

We look forward to hearing your ideas!

Before you pitch us an idea, keep a few things in mind:

Read the magazine and the Web site. Its the best way to get a sense of what we like, and the easiest way to avoid sending us something weve already covered. Send us an outline or blurb, not a finished article. Youll hear back from us much faster. And if we like the idea, we can offer feedback before you get started. You can find submission contact information listed below by department. Avoid the obvious. We receive dozens of pieces with titles such as NATO at the Crossroads and The Future of Trans-Atlantic Relations. We publish almost none of them. Connect the dots. FP focuses on why what happens there matters hereand vice versa. Thats why we rarely run articles on single countries. So unless your piece on Nagorno-Karabakh is going to be relevant or worth reading by someone in, say, Antananarivo, dont bother sending it. Dont send us anything that refers to our interests abroad. Unless, that is, youre the president, the secretary of state, or some other government official. FP has readers in more than 90 countries and seven foreign editions, so articles that assume a strictly American audience are probably not for us. Steer clear of wonky, technical language. FP believes in making big ideas accessible to the widest possible audience. Provide original research or reporting to support your ideas. And be prepared to document what you say. FP fact-checks everything we publish. Pitch articles for specific departments. FP has a variety of different formats, almost all of which are open to outside contributors. See below for details. Include your full mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address. Dont send us any article or proposal that begins with Since the end of the Cold War... or In the wake of September 11... Really. Please dont.

FP Departments and Submission Contacts

We offer many avenues for the enterprising writer. An idea that does not work well in one FP format may well find a comfortable home in another. Consider the fit of your idea to the following descriptions of FPs sections and their requirements. Then, submit your article idea to the most appropriate department. Please submit your article idea to only ONE contact. If you are not sure where your idea would best fit, submit your idea to us at Editor@ForeignPolicy.com.

Think Again
A guerrilla attack on the conventional wisdom surrounding a consequential issue. Previous Think Again subjects have included al Qaeda, Alan Greenspan, China, and the neocons. Authors choose 8 to 10 assertions reflecting the common consensus on a topic (such as China is undertaking a huge military buildup, or Greenspan is responsible for the U.S. economic boom of the 1990s) and write short essays (about 350 words each) scrutinizing each assertion. The complete article is approximately 3,000 words long. Your best bet is to send us a one-page outline with a list of proposed assertions -- not the full text.

Contact the submissions editor at Editor@ForeignPolicy.com.

Feature Articles
Feature articles in FP are 2,500 to 3,500 words in length (although we occasionally publish longer essays of up to 4,500 words). You should also recommend ideas for sidebars (300 to 650 words) and provide data for charts, graphs, or maps that will bring value-added information and insights. Moreover, you are expected to provide a Want to Know More? narrative bibliography (350 words) that recommends specific books, articles, Web sites, and films as sources for further information. (Full bibliographic citations must be included.)

Contact Editor@ForeignPolicy.com.

In FPs Arguments section, authors are encouraged to take a provocative stand in less than 1,000 words. Think of these as thoughtful op-eds with some shelf lifetopical, but not ephemeral. You should be able to distill your most salient point into one sentence. Just about any issue is fair game.

Contact Editor@ForeignPolicy.com.Note: For more timely arguments on hot topics, the Web is probably your best bet. E-mail Blake Hounshell, managing editor, blake.hounshell@foreignpolicy.com with a short (e.g. one-paragraph) pitch.

Prime Numbers
Prime Numbers is a marriage of data-intense graphics and text that tells a compelling story about an issue of global importance. Authors provide data for four or five graphics and accompanying text, which includes an introduction and four to five small packages of commentary and facts to bolster your case (100 words each). Recent Prime Numbers have covered world voting trends, emissions of greenhouse gases, the global labor market, the world market for cultural goods, and cross-country comparisons of crime and punishment data.

Contact Elizabeth Dickinson, assistant editor, Elizabeth.Dickinson@ForeignPolicy.com.

In Other Words
FP only reviews books published outside the United States, and quite often unavailable in English. Our goal is to expose readers to important ideas and debates that they otherwise might not hear about. The books in question do not have to be about international affairs. We welcome reviews that focus on contentious domestic issues, culture, economics, and sociology. In recent issues, we reviewed a Kikuyu novel offering insight into Kenyan politics, a controversial German book lamenting the countrys social and demographic malaise, and an Israeli book on reforming the Israel Defense Forces. Book reviews are typically 1,200 words in length. Our reviews assess the quality of the books and place those books in the context of current events. In short, tell us why this book is so important or controversial.

Contact Christian Brose, senior editor, christian.brose@ForeignPolicy.com.

Web Exclusives
FP is expanding editorial content on its award-winning Web site, ForeignPolicy.com. Web Exclusives are typically more time sensitive and require more interactivity than pieces published in print. Here, it is better to keep it short (800 words) and pegged to the issues of the day.

Contact Blake Hounshell, managing editor, Blake.Hounshell@ForeignPolicy.com.

Still not sure where your idea might work best? Submit your idea to us at Editor@ForeignPolicy.com.